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Herd Book for Goats – Need of the hour

Herd book is basically a record of production or growth parameters of economically important characters in an animal. This recording helps in selection of animals for breeding after looking at its production performance. It is a book of standards which sets the marks for other animals. Here we are giving some fundamental points which are needed to create a herd book by associations or bodies working for improvement of their flocks.

Herd Book for Goats – Need of the hour In the herd book more than 85% of the total goat population should be recorded for characters under observation. This phenomenon increase directional breeding towards improvement of population and stops indiscriminate breeding at least on organized farms – it helps in identifying outstanding bucks, so even ordinary commercial flocks have an interesting breeding potential at their disposal.

The breeding evaluation system complies with the strict international rules for registration, documentation, calculations, etc. Producers and farmers can also use advanced technological and theoretical methods which in our opinion give a higher reliability of the estimated breeding values for proven A.I.-bucks, donor Does for embryo transfer and breeding stock.

Organization – An organization must be created as an autonomous body to look after the primary requirement for the standard herd book. In this organization farmers would become members and share their data on regular basis. A part of this organization should be dedicated to identification of desired flocks and allow registrations and guide flock owners for improvement.

Rules concerning identification and registration - The rules of identification should be made and follow in field conditions. All farms with flocks of goats either for breeding and production purpose must be registered in the herd register of the CHR-register (Central Herd Registration). Farms are allocated individual farm numbers (CHR-numbers). The identification of an animal always contains the farm number of the specific farm in particular area where the animal was born or first imported to.

Eartags is the best way to identify the animals and they should be well printed with a special logo, a 4 or 5-digit farm number and a 3 or 4-digit individual animal number within the farm. If an eartag does not carry one of the shown logos, the authorities do not officially recognize it for goat breeding.

Kids born in a registered farm must be reported to the Central Goat Database within seven days from birth. Flocks may use the barn registration sheets as a copy of the herd register.

The flock owner is responsible for the identification/ear tagging. As soon as the ear tag has been properly attached and the birth has been reported within the specified time period, the animal is registered in the Central Goat Database, containing data on all goats and all flocks in that particular region. This system ensures maximum security as regarding the identification, pedigree, yield and flock affiliation of any animal.

Data collection and information networking

Data is required and collected for the following activities and reported continuously to the Central Goat Database
  • Herdbook recording and keeping
  • Calculation of breeding values
  • Production management
  • Export certificates
Herd Book for Goats – Need of the hour Different registers will be provided in different farms in which authentic and real data will be collected related to growth, milk production, breeding efficiency, reproduction parameters, inter kidding period, weight at 3 months of age, multiple births etc.

It is a flock owner's duty to keep up-to-date as to the criteria for herdbook keeping if he wants to register an animal. When applying for registration and herdbook keeping, certain requirements must be met aiming at rendering work more effective:
  • New herds apply to autonomous organization maintaining herd book
  • The registration forms can be completed by the owner or a technician who certifies the correctness of the information by signing the documents
  • When purchasing a registered animal, a pedigree certificate can be ordered. Pedigree certificates can only be issued by the herdbook office
  • All kids are to be registered by the herdbook office. Registration must be affected before any change of ownership.
  • Classification of Flocks and Animals

Meat or Milk Goats
Classification of flocks on the basis of parity
Buck Dams and selected Does
Daughter group classification
Classification scale

Applications and implications of maintaining herd book at farmer and organizational level Goals:

  1. To achieve average daily gain of 200 grams
  2. To increase frequency of multiple birth from present 1.2 to 1.75
  3. To increase milk yield from 0.75 to 2 liter per day
  4. To increase the weight at 3 month of age
  5. To decrease inter kidding period
  6. To decrease the age of first kidding from 19 month to 13 month

Working principles

  1. Large variation & effective size of a population is needed for rapid improvement of the target flock through artificial selection.
  2. (In the past many breed improvement programs were introduced in India through cross breeding. However, they increase productive performance but dilute the existing germplasm which lead to the dwindling situation of native breeds)
  3. Cross breeding increases genetic gains by hetrosis but indiscriminate breeding leads to decrease the diversity of breed. Large diversity acts as a buffer for changing environments and helps in conservation of species. In contrast grading up of existing breeds through selective breeding is more favorable & promising. However, it takes more time, labor & technical assistance in comparison to cross breeding.
  4. We are working on selective breeding of Sirohi breed and try to improve its traits. We believe that our native breeds evolved according to sub tropical Indian climate and they can survive more easily than other non – descript breeds.
Herd Book for Goats – Need of the hour


Most characteristics of production are determined by combination of genetic & environmental factors. Variation is present in every population which means that individual’s vary in their performances. This variation is the raw material of breed improvement.


It means to give opportunity to the selected individuals to become the parents of next generation. The main tool that goat keepers & professional goat breeders use to make changes to this variation is selection.

The objective of any breeding program, whether at the level of flock, village, or national population, is to improve the mean performance of a trait, or number of traits, and reduce the degree of variation.

Genetic progress of the plan

3 factors control genetic progress made in a trait through selection.

Heritability is the likelihood of passing on characteristics from parents to the offspring.

Selection differential is the degree of superiority of the selected parents over the rest of the population. If there is a great deal of variation, it is possible to select only very best individuals for mating, and, provided that the heritability of the trait is high, the offspring will be considerably better than the average of the previous generation.

Generation interval is the time interval between generations. It affects the rate at which genetic progress can be made. Genetic progress can be made more quickly the shorter the generation interval because selection pressure can be put on a population more often than in species with longer intervals, so faster genetic progress can be made in goats than in cattle. Relationship between traits – Positive and negative correlations It is important to be aware of correlations known to occur between traits, because they can be used by breeders to plan better breeding programs.

Identification of superior stock for selection

Selection by eye for body size, under size, body shape, or other physical characteristic has been used for generations, but this method is not necessarily accurate when judging the economic traits of milk production or growth.

The recording of performance is the most accurate basis of selection, but this can often be hard to organize in the tropics.

Goats are then chosen on the basis of selection index, so many traits can be improved simultaneously.

Factors such as managemental standards, season of birth and weaning, and the difference between years can all affect performance.

Selection in goats can be made on the basis of the following factors.
Criteria Remarks
Perfomance testing  
Progeny testing  
Pedigree Selection  
Collateral Selection  

Future of goat breeding in India is very bright and maintaining records like this will definitively help the breeders in coming time. This improvement is one such mandate which is mainly promoted by our company. We are inviting international companies and experts to work in India and help in flock improvement for better tomorrow.